Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Importance of Performance

I posted those words to Facebook just before we appeared on stage to give readers who have never danced in public some idea of the thrill of doing so.   Possibly the  anticipation of the performance is even more delicious that the performance itself.  It is during those moments that the adrenaline begins to flow and a thousand thoughts slip in and out of the brain.   We danced our piece.  I don't think there were too many disasters. At least nobody shouted at us to get off or booed.  We detected no flying tomatoes or rotten eggs. Or if any were thrown the aim of the person throwing such missile would have been worse than our dancing. We even got a clap at the end.

I didn't see any of the show because we were the third act of the second part but I did see the dress rehearsal and was very impressed.  Particularly good this year were the repertoire class which presented their own original ballet entitled Pirates of the Caribbean choreographed by their instructor, Josh Moss.  I do not yet have a clip of yesterday's performance of Pirates but here in a video of their entry into the kingdom of the shades in October 2016 which I reviewed in Pride.   This film shows how good they are:

Standard YouTube Licence

That performance is all the more impressive when you consider that all the dancers have busy lives and  meet only for a few minutes on Wednesday evenings.  As usual, the Chinese dancers delighted me and the advanced ballet, intermediate and pointe classes thrilled me.

My Facebook post elicited a whole tas de merde, a "chookas" and several invitations to "break a leg" but also the following comment: "Sadly, I don't get to do an annual show, despite attending two schools."  The student who posted that response was right to be sad because performance is so important to ballet education.  As I said in my review of Hype Dance's Annual Show:
"Performances are important to dance education because ballet and kindred styles of dance developed in the theatre and are intended for an audience. The experience of appearing before a living, breathing (and paying) audience is delicious. I well remember the charge of excitement I felt in my first show which I tried to describe in The Time of My Life 28 June 2014. Every dance student from toddler to pensioner can and should feel that charge no matter how inexperienced or incompetent he or she may be. Most get that opportunity because almost every dance school worth its salt offers its students a chance to take part in its annual show. Training and rehearsing for that show is what distinguishes dance classes from dreary keep fit."
A flippant answer might be "Go find yourself another ballet school", but that would not be very helpful. I happen to know that one of the schools to which the dancer refers is rated as one the best in the country - at least for highly talented young students with the ambition and ability to make a career in dance.  Also, that school is not the only fine ballet school not to offer its adult dance students a chance to perform on stage.   Northern Ballet Academy did the same a couple of years ago which is why I spend at least one evening a week in Manchester even though there are outstanding teachers in Leeds and the Academy's timetabling is much more convenient

In Essex, Cornwall and other parts of the country, an opportunity to perform in public is offered by local amateur ballet companies.  I think we need something like that in the North,  That is why I hope we can launch Powerhouse Ballet.  However, everything depends on whether we can get a reasonable turnout (in both senses of the word) at Jane Tucker's class in Huddersfield on Saturday.

If you want to come but have not already registered, now is your chance.  This will be great class:


  1. That was a beautiful piece Jane. I remember seeing it on one of Sophie's videos. Was she in it?

    1. Thank you. I don't think Sophie is in this film. Though she is always very welcome in Manchester we do not see her here as often as we would like.